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Sarah Palin is standing on the back deck of her father’s home in Wasilla, Alaska, spending the day like she usually does: getting her youngest child, Trig, ready for school while checking in with her 84-year-old dad as he adjusts to life without her mom who passed away suddenly last year.

“Trig goes to public school at a really great special needs program at Wasilla Middle School,” Palin told The Post about her 14-year old-son who was born with Downs Syndrome. “We get up and get out to the bus stop by 6:55 in the morning with our flashlights because it is so dark out.”

While Trig is at school, Palin said she works on her campaign for Congress. The mother-of-five Palin is running for Alaska’s lone House seat, which was vacated after longtime congressman Don Young died in March.

Now 58, not much about Palin has changed since she was tapped as John McCain’s presidential running mate on the 2008 Republican ticket. Sarah Palin celebrates the opening of her US Congress campaign headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 20, 2022.Sarah Palin celebrates the opening of her US Congress campaign headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 20, 2022.Sarah Palin celebrates the opening of her US Congress campaign headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 20, 2022.Sarah Palin celebrates the opening of her US Congress campaign headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 20, 2022.

Sarah Palin outside the headquarters for her congressional campaign on Wednesday, April 20.
Sarah Palin outside the headquarters for her congressional campaign on Wednesday, April 20.
Joshua Corbett for NY Post

She is also still a target for the media, who remain doubtful about her political prospects. Earlier this month, Politico published a story about her congressional bid, titled: “I Just Think Sarah These Days is Not a Person to Be Taken Seriously.” NPR declared “Sarah Palin is attempting a comeback in Alaska, but her star has dimmed at home,” while the Washington Post blared, “Sarah Palin is running for Congress. Many Alaskans are skeptical of her.

But Palin just shrugs. “The media forgets that I was a mayor, a city council member and chair of the oil and gas commission that oversaw the supply of a lot of our natural resources to the rest of the United States,” she said of her credentials.

“They forget that I have a record and education and experience. I’ve been doing this for 30 years now. That is what they get wrong and they never want to talk about that. Well, I like to talk about my record because it is just so full of common sense,” she said.

Palin at Knik Glacier in Alaska with a friend and her 14-year-old son, Trig, who has special needs.
Palin at Knik Glacier in Alaska with a friend and her 14-year-old son, Trig.
Sarah Palin/Instagram

“Or maybe they forget perhaps that I was a governor?” she added of the position she won when she unseated then-Gov. Frank Murkowski — a prominent leader of Alaska’s establishment Republicans and the father of US Sen. Lisa Murkowski — in the 2006 Republican primary.

Of her rivals she says, “I have never been part of a clique politically up here and that just rubs people the wrong way if they believe that they’re the king makers.”

She declared her run for Congress on April 1 — just weeks after visiting New York City to pursue a defamation suit against the New York Times.

Palin campaigning with John McCain on the the Republican presidential ticket in 2008.
Palin campaigning with John McCain on the the Republican presidential ticket in 2008. She became famous for her catchy, plain-spoken phrases, such as, “You betcha!”
Getty Images

“When I announced I said, ‘Alaskans, if you hire me, I would love to work for you. I will go to Washington, DC and I’ll represent you,’ not really considering all the politics involved because as the days go on, you realize, ‘Oh my gosh. Okay, here comes the political machine,’” she said of the reactions to her announcement.

Since her resignation as governor in 2009 Palin has become a powerful force in the conservative populist movement — first dubbed the “Tea Party” during the 2010 midterm elections. She has since served as a Fox News contributor, hosted several outdoor lifestyle shows on the Sportsman Channel, and written the memoir “Going Rogue: An American Life,” which spent six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 2009. She also endorsed Donald Trump’s run for president in 2016 before the first caucus primary votes were even cast.

Gov. Palin, in 2007, when John McCain first tapped her as his running mate in the presidential election.
Gov. Palin, in 2007, when John McCain first tapped her as his running mate in the presidential election.
Michael Sugrue

Besides her son Trig, Palin said the rest of her children are now living all over the place. Eldest son Track, 32, is a father-of-three who still resides in Alaska. Bristol, 31, is now a mother-of-three and owns a real estate company in Texas. Willow, 28, and her husband, Ricky, are the parents of twins and welcomed their third child on March 30th; they also recently moved to Texas. Piper, 21, is in college in Arizona. Palin herself lives in a home not far from her father, Chuck, in the suburbs of Wasilla, the fourth-largest city in Alaska, about 40 miles from Anchorage.

Palin's daughter, Bristol, 31, is now a mother-of-three and owns a real estate company in Texas.
Palin’s daughter, Bristol, 31, is now a mother-of-three and owns a real estate company in Texas.
Sarah Palin/Instagram
Willow (left), 28, and her husband, Ricky, are the parents of twins and recently welcomed their third child. Piper (right), 21, is in college in Arizona.
Willow (left), 28, and her husband, Ricky, are the parents of twins and recently welcomed their third child. Piper (right), 21, is in college in Arizona.
Willow Bailey/Instagram
Track Palin, now 32, sits with sister Willow, holding baby brother Trig, on day three of the Republican National Convention in 2008.
Track Palin, now 32, sits with sister Willow, holding baby brother Trig, on day three of the Republican National Convention in 2008.
Getty Images

Meanwhile, Palin and her husband of more than 30 years, Todd, 57, quietly divorced in the spring of 2020. Palin said she found out in 2019 that her high school sweetheart — with whom she eloped in 1988 — wanted out of the marriage via an email from an attorney.

The pain and shock of the divorce is still evident. “It was the most earth shattering, bizarre thing I could have ever imagined and it kind of remains so,” she told me.

Palin and her husband of more than 30 years, Todd, quietly divorced in the spring of 2020, a split she calls "earth shattering.”
Palin and her husband of more than 30 years, Todd, quietly divorced in the spring of 2020, a split she calls “earth shattering.”
AFP/Getty Images

While they both share custody of Trig, she said it’s the only connection remaining between them. “He spends his time with his girlfriend whom he’s had for some time now…” she says as her voice trails off, adding, “She lives down in the lower 48 so he spends a lot of time down in the lower 48.”

Since the divorce, Palin said she hadn’t even thought about dating again until this winter when she went to New York for the defamation case she filed against The New York Times for falsely claiming in a 2017 oped that her political rhetoric led to a mass shooting.

She called up a longtime friend — retired New York Rangers star Ron Duguay because she figured he knew New York well enough to be her Gotham fixer — and a romance suddenly took off.

Palin said she found romance with retired New York Rangers star Ron Duguay after she asked him to show her around New York City earlier this year.
Palin said she found romance with retired New York Rangers star Ron Duguay after she asked him to show her around New York City earlier this year.
REUTERS
Palin said her relationship with Duguay is “safe and comfortable.”
Palin said her relationship with Duguay is “safe and comfortable.”
REUTERS
The two were longtime friends.
REUTERS

She lights up when she talks about Duguay, who played with the Rangers from 1977-1983, saying she finds the relationship “safe and comfortable.”

“Ron is the first person that I’ve ever even talked to about a lot of this personal stuff. So it’s been helpful and refreshing to have Ron to talk to about not just politics, because he’s got more common sense in his little finger than the collective in DC, but just about life,” she said.

“He is French Canadian by birth but he has been here for decades. In a lot of ways he is more patriotic, more pro-America, more pro-freedom than a lot of people I know, and that includes a lot of politicians serving America.”

Palin said Duguay has been spending time with her in Alaska, helping "me get my yard and property in order," while she works on her campaign.
Palin said Duguay has been spending time with her in Alaska, helping “me get my yard and property in order,” while she works on her campaign.
Courtesy of Sarah Palin

She said she admires that he appreciates the freedoms and private enterprise in our country. “So that’s another mindset aspect. And he is really handsome. And, in fact, he’s in Alaska right now. He came to help me get my yard and property in order because he knows how busy I am with bustling down the campaign.”

Palin said twice-divorced Duguay, 64, has lived in Florida for a while, “but he spent a lot of time in New York as a New York Ranger. He met me there because he knew the lay of the land, and he knew that I was by myself and that nobody was traveling with me or was staying with me,” she said.

Her initial reaction was “Oh cool, I’ll have a bodyguard.”

It turns out hanging out with Duguay was a lot of fun, Palin said. “On my free time, he would walk all over New York and he would show me what he and the Rangers did back in the day, or at least where they did it.”

Palin's defamation case against the New York Times was dismissed. She's currently appealing.
Palin’s defamation case against the New York Times was dismissed. She’s currently appealing.
Getty Images

She said she didn’t get to do much except walk around because of the COVID restrictions and vaccine mandates in New York at the time. Palin said she did not get the vaccination because she had COVID in April of 2021. “We wanted to go to a Rangers game, but at the time, you had to be immunized and you had to show your papers. And, of course, that has all been lifted now because we were right. So I couldn’t go to much of anything.”

“I so wanted to take him on. I mean, come on, sir! You have nothing else to talk about or going on in your city?”

Palin on NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ rebuke of her COVID-positive status during her recent visit

When she did go out — dining at Elio’s, an Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side — she made headlines for being there without the city’s mandated vaccination papers. When she ate there again at a heated outdoor area of the restaurant a few days later, she faced more blowback for doing so after testing positive for COVID.

The news prompted the office of New York Mayor Eric Adams to release a statement saying they “encouraged any New Yorker who came in contact with Sarah Palin to get tested.”

Palin said she really had to bite her tongue at that moment. “I so wanted to take him on. I mean, come on, sir! You have nothing else to talk about or going on in your city?”

Palin (pictured in 2010) was an early face of America’s now-robust conservative populist movement.
Palin (pictured in 2010) was an early face of America’s now-robust conservative populist movement.
Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images

And yet, Palin said her visit to New York was mostly enjoyable despite the non-stop press and having the judge in her trial publicly dismiss her case before the jury even came back with a ruling (she is now appealing), because most people were very nice to her and made me feel welcome.

Palin said her desire to run for office again piqued when she realized how much devotion for her home state she shared with the late congressman Young. “He had such a passion for developing our natural resources, and then having those resources contribute to the safety and sovereignty of our nation,” she said. “That was something we shared, along with our love and respect for the hard-working, unpretentious, independent Alaskans whom he represented.”

Palin meets with constituents at her US Congress campaign headquarters on April 20.
Palin meets with constituents at her US Congress campaign headquarters on April 20.
Joshua Corbett for NY Post
A Palin backer shows her support for the former governor in her bid for Alaska's sole House seat.
A Palin backer shows her support for the former governor in her bid for Alaska’s sole House seat.
Joshua Corbett for NY Post

Currently, there are at least 50 people running in the June special election. In a new system, the four who garner the most votes will move ahead to the special general election in August.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has already backed Palin’s run for Congress, as has former President Trump. Trump and Palin formed an early bond long before he ran for president in 2016, something she encourages him to do again.

“I think he should run again in 2024 because we need not just the media but politicians on both sides of the aisle held accountable. He’s a master in holding people accountable,” she said.

Palin (pictured with Trump in 2016) said the former president is "a master in holding people accountable."
Palin (pictured with Trump in 2016) said the former president is “a master in holding people accountable.”
Courtesy of Sarah Palin

She said Trump called her the week before she announced her congressional bid and said, “Can you imagine if both of us are in there?” of the idea of them both winning and being in Washington together.

“I said that sure would shake up a lot of things,” Palin said, laughing.

Source: NYPOST

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